Interview: Photographer Steve Siebold
One of our very first partners was an amazing wedding photography business called The Brides and the Bees and we looked at their website and they offered so much more than just a photographer for weddings - they offered a thorough, caring, unique service that we wanted to share and let more people know about. And it was the best initial collaborating experience we could've asked for and we still love the work they do. Steve Siebold, the man behind it all, has been so gracious and amazing to us and not only does he deserve more acknowledgment but other people deserve to know about him and the work he does. He cares about people's experience and satisfaction, not just clientele and revenue. He even squeezed in the time to answer our questions and we love what he had to say. He's such an inspiring and motivated man and he has done more than we could've ever expected for us, and with us. And we hope we can do the same for him.
What is the story of how you got started in photography?
SS: Though there was clear evidence of my interest in cameras in my teenage years, my interest in photography stemmed from having finished film school in 2007. That was the year the writers strike happened and there was no work to be found. I was working retail management for 12 years and could not get out of the industry for the life of me. Luckily, in 2010, the company that I was working for laid me off. Though it was a struggle at the time, it was a blessing in disguise. I had purchased my first Canon 5d Mark II just 5 months prior to being laid off, though I had not had much time to shoot with it. As we all do, I had to find a way to pay the bills. I was shooting some headshots here and there while practicing my skills. A friend was getting married on a budget and asked me to photograph her wedding. Since I was admiring a friends wedding photography at the time (and still do), I jumped at the chance to see if I had what it took to photograph weddings. I tapped into my inner hopeless romantic and made it work. This HAD to work. I absolutely did not want to go back to retail management. As it turned out, not only was I good at it... I actually loved the entire experience of shooting weddings!
How’d you decide and go about starting your business?
SS: Starting a photography business stemmed out of necessity. I was stubborn. I was refusing to go back to my old profession. It was a sink or swim situation and I had to make this work. This was my chance to build a new career. The first step was aligning myself with other wedding industry professionals. I chose to work with other people that were also building their businesses to create a sense a team effort. Likewise, I also started to align myself with other film industry professionals to build that career as well. Over time, I began to build my portfolio within both industries as well as honing in on my own personal style.
What encourages you to keep going?
SS: Funny. What keeps me going is a refusal to get a desk job. Though owning a business is a desk job of sorts, it's MY desk job. Film was always my passion, and photography is a part of that medium. I have a general curiosity to experiment with photos and film and I'm always surprised at what I am capable of achieving if I put my mind to it.
How do you pick yourself up after adversity?
SS: These are very competitive industries and it can be hard to compete at times. Like many creatives, depression can weigh you down after a bad review/experience. The challenge is to have the mental toughness to lift yourself back up, wipe the dirt from your shoulders, and say to yourself "I can do this!" I'm just not the type to give up easily.
How would you describe your vision/style?
SS: Stylish. Candid. Adventurous. I like to look through fashion magazines and try to recreate those types of images. Similarly, I have a strange obsession with looking through vintage images. I often wonder about the story behind the images and the people. There is a story within the mystery of the people in the photographs.
How have you and your photography evolved?
SS: I often look at my first wedding images and compare them to my current images. Wow! What a difference. My first images weren't bad, they just didn't have any sort of individual style to them. Very early on, it was clear to me that I had to do something different to set myself apart. I've noticed a lot of similar edits out there in the industry. To me, they are great images, but the images are not unique in any way. I can't tell the difference from one photographer and the next. The current trend is to have very bright, clean images. So, I do the opposite in order to stand out.
What is your favourite quote of all time?
SS: My favorite quote came to me in a dream that I had. It really woke me up. Within my dream, I said to myself "if you don't live your dream, someone else will." That has stuck with me ever since.
What are your goals with your business and photography?
SS: Destination weddings. What a great way to see the world! ;)